By the end of the week, we were definitely ready to put a period on the flooring project. We spent the week trying to walk on rugs and blankets to keep the floor clean and protected. We’re adults, so it was aggravating but not horrific, but Waylon was confused and annoyed about the whole thing, especially since he basically had to stay in the laundry room or bedroom or outside.
For the final coat on the floor, we used an oil-based polyurethane. We were hoping that it would hold up better, and it has overall held up well (we at ten months of use now), but the oil base meant that it did yellow the stain, and because we blasted this thing with four coats, the yellowing was fairly significant. I think that I would use water-based if we did this project over, in hopes of retaining the original stain color.
The actual application was pretty easy. We thoroughly swept and vacuumed the floor, and then began working our way around the house and out the back door. We purchased an applicator that was basically a mop with a pad that could be attached, and we used that to spread the poly around. The poly that we chose claimed that sanding between coats would not be necessary.
Our biggest mistake, I think, was that even though we allowed the required amount of time between coats, we really probably should have extended that time for each additional coat. It took a couple of weeks for this stuff to cure out completely. While we were able to walk on it and use it within a day of the final coat, we had to be very, very careful to not twist our feet as we walked, or it would immediately wrinkle up the top couple of coats of poly. This was still happening to some extent over a week later. It got to a point where I wondered if it would ever cure!
But the shine! I love a glossy floor, and that is definitely what we have. This floor is A+ easy to keep clean. I sweep and mop it with no issues. It is just as easy to maintain as laminate. (And look! You’re getting a preview of a future post about our new entertainment center!)
So yes, we applied a coat, then had to go hang out somewhere else because the smell was unbelievable. By this time, it was the first weekend of December and quite cold, so we were leaving windows open and the furnace on – not terribly efficient. We had to stay two nights with relatives, and applied our four coats Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday evening, and Sunday morning.
On the whole, the plywood flooring has been a win. Even though it didn’t end up being much more cost-effective than some of our other options, it definitely accomplished our goals of stiffening and leveling the floor. Eventually, we may put down laminate, but it should be able to blast right over what we already have.
The poly has held up fairly well, once it cured. Waylon’s exuberance has definitely done a number on it and the floor is full of scuffs and scratches, but despite all his wild scramblings as he chases after balls, he has never cut down through all the layers to the actual wood. We were really concerned about the scratches at first, but honestly now it just makes the whole floor look warmer and more like an old wood floor.
If this is something you’re thinking about doing, I think that the biggest thing we would change about the process is that we would have probably ended up with a smoother overall project if we had put down the wood and then rented a floor sander and sanded everything that way, and then stained it when it was already down. The dust would have been stupid, though, so maybe we did it the right way after all.
Overall, I love the floor, and it’s sooo much better than our gross subfloor! It was a ton of work, but the effort paid off!
Next time – tile for the kitchen floor!